An overwhelming majority of adults (79%) believe the government should regulate insurance products that exploit loopholes to discriminate against cancer patients and others with pre-existing conditions, according to a new national survey.
Health insurers are increasingly selling the coverage — known as short-term, limited-duration plans — following a federal rule change in 2018 (https://www.politico.com/story/2018/08/01/trump-obamacare-short-term-plans-689126). The plans largely operate outside the scope of state and federal laws designed to protect consumers, which means they generally offer fewer benefits (https://www.lls.org/sites/default/files/National/USA/Pdf/STLD-Impact-Report-Final-Public.pdf) – excluding, for example, mental health care and prescription drug coverage – and leaves patients responsible for the cost of their treatment. Despite their name, short-term plans are allowed to cover patients for years.
Americans of all political stripes – including 86% of
“Short-term health plans have major shortcomings and leave patients vulnerable if they face a serious and unexpected diagnosis like cancer,” said
The nationally representative survey was conducted at the end of 2021 by
Customers with short-term plans do not have the right to appeal their insurer’s decisions. And many studies (https://www.propublica.org/article/trumpcare-does-not-exist-nevertheless-facebook-and-google-cash-in-on-misleading-ads-for-garbage-health-insurance) show that the plans rely on deceptive marketing to attract customers by touting lower premiums without providing transparent information about the lack of coverage. An overwhelming majority of respondents (92%) think people “can be fooled into buying poor quality coverage” even if they asked the right questions beforehand.
The survey revealed that young adults (24%), black adults (27%) are the groups most open to joining these plans.
“We must work together to prevent insurers from selling health plans that offer little or no coverage while collecting premiums from consumers,” said Delaware’s insurance commissioner.
The survey also suggests that those who sell insurance will suffer reputational damage if they sell consumers insufficient coverage without proper warnings. Consumers overwhelmingly said that health insurance agents and brokers are responsible for the quality of the plans they sell to consumers (82%), and 88% of consumers said they would have a negative opinion of their insurance agent or broker if they were ultimately faced with higher risks than – the medical bills to be expected.
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